New Delhi: The French Air Force is planning
to bring its state-of-the-art Rafale fighter jets to India for
a bilateral air exercise next year.
French Air Force officers had discussed the idea with the
Indian Air Force team, which is currently in France for a
tri-lateral air exercise in which the Singapore air force too
is a part.
"At present, the talks for the next Indo-French exercise
are also on and the French officials have expressed their
desire to bring the Rafale aircraft for the next joint air
exercise likely to be held in 2011-12 in India," an IAF
officer, who is part of the Indian continent for Garuda-2010
exercise in Istres air base in France, said today.
The current exercise also entered its final phase with
over 60 missions having been successfully flown in the last
one week. The present Garuda exercise will conclude tomorrow.
During the exercise, IAF`s six potent Su-30MKI fighter
aircraft along with the French fighter jets Mirage-2000-5 and
Rafale engaged in various air defence manoeuvres alongside
the Singaporean Air Force`s F-16 planes.
Among the manoeuvres practised were implementation of `no
fly zones` and large force engagements during day and night.
The Su-30s also took part in a high value air-borne asset
protection as well as protection busting missions.
The IL-78 refuellers of the IAF and the KC-135 refuellers
of the French Air Force also participated in various missions
carrying out refuelling of fighters of other air forces.
Refuelling denials were practised, making these missions
more difficult, a press release issued by IAF here said.
A unique feature to which the Su-30 were subjected was
the `swing roles` under which the same aircraft was
simultaneously put to offensive as well as defensive roles.
The E-3 AWACS provided the radar coverage during the
exercise, while the IAF special forces `Garud` carried out two
jumps each by day and night along with the French special
IAF`s IL-76 was used for these jumps by the two special
Senior IAF officer Air Marshal K K Nowhar, who visited the
contingent during Garuda-2010, said, "Our participation in the
exercise has reinforced the manner in which we conduct our
operations. It has also helped us refine our doctrine."
On the lessons learnt from the exercise, Nowhar said, "In
the future, there is a slim chance that a country would
operate in isolation especially in a co-operative defence
scenario. Thus knowing each other’s best practices in terms of
tactics, techniques and procedures is the main objective of
this exercise, which is also a part of the Indo-French defence